9 Months Up, 9 Months Down

10 Months @ Captiva

Nine months after having my beautiful, healthy, miraculous baby girl, and I finally reached my pre-baby weight.  It has been an emotional journey, so I felt the need to share. Everyone’s experience will be different, but this is mine.

Anyone who has read my blog over the past 7 years, knows I had been on along, slow journey towards healthy living, which coincidentally, reached its finale (best shape of my life) just a month before conceiving. While overjoyed with the news, in the back of my mind, I cringed at a family members’ comment from years past, “someday you’ll have kids and get fat like the rest of us”. Determined not to make that a reality and set a healthy example for my new, impressionable daughter, I tried not to go overboard with my diet (admittedly there were way too many Fruit Loops), and exercised almost every day I wasn’t ill. I was fortunate to have a very smooth, healthy pregnancy despite my age (35). I had this delusion, that I would bounce right back to my pre-baby body within a mere two months. After all, if celebrities could do it, I could too, right? Welllllll… I wished I had heeded so many friends and expert’s advice and given my body the same amount of time to bounce back as it did to build the baby – a minimum of 9 months.

 

So reflecting on my journey, here’s a few things I learned about getting back to my former self, both physically and emotionally:

  1. It really helps if you were fit and lived a healthy lifestyle before you got pregnant. I read an article that said the best predictor of your post-baby body, is your pre-baby body.
  2. Pregnancy is not the time to throw your diet to the wind and give up exercise. Eat when you’re hungry, but try to make healthy choices, and exercise often as permitted by your doctor.  Mine told me I could do most anything I did before pregnancy, which didn’t exclude much!  I mostly walked, but went jogging just a few days before giving birth.
  3. Don’t try and lose weight right after the baby is born, especially if you’re BF. Just make healthy food choices, exercise when time and energy allows, and let your amazing body (which just built a human being!) take care of the rest.
  4. For some, the last 10 pounds will not come off until after you finish BF, and that definitely applied to me.  Your body naturally holds on to excess fat stores to make sure it’s got plenty of fuel to make baby food (dang our bodies are genius!).  For me, that was at 7-months, when I transitioned her to formula, increased my workouts, and within a month the scale started moving again and the softness started melting away.
  5. You need to exercise, for you mental health if nothing else.  Being a mom is HARD, and exercise produces lots of great endorphins that you need right now.  During my 6-weeks postpartum check-up, my doctor highly recommended that I exercise as often as possible for my mental sanity.  That’s a prescription I will definitely take.
  6. Yes, 6-pack abs ARE possible after baby.  I read an article on a popular pregnancy website that showed lots of pictures of “real women” a year after baby.  It was well-intended to help women see the realities of a post-baby body, but there was one problem – it did not show anyone like me, fit and fabulous post-baby, and yes there are lots of us (all my beautiful friends for example).  So, take everything you read with a grain of salt, and refer back to #1…

Mommies… what has been your postpartum body experience?

10-months post-baby

10-months post-baby (and post-workout!)

Lessons from the Standing Desk Experiment

Two months in and I can’t even imagine going back to sitting!  I’m standing here dancing as I type this to my new “Dance” playlist.  It doesn’t get better than that in office world.  The only time I sit down is when I am eating my lunch, at which time I just shift to my lap-top at desk-level.

Standing Desk

Here’s some things I’ve learned:

PROS

  • More fun at work!  Yes, it’s true.  I’m having more fun by standing and often break out into sporadic dancing when Pandora happens upon a great song.  Now if only I could start standing through meetings.
  • More calories burned.  It’s estimated that I will burn between 80-200 extra calories per day just standing here.  I’m probably at the upper end of that since I’m rarely just standing… I’m a fidgeter, so I’m dancing around, bouncing, or doing “the mom sway”.  Reference:  Livestrong.com
  • Good role model.  Lots of people have stopped by curious what I’m doing.  1 has purchased their own standing desk, and several are starting their own paper-box test.  Score!

CONS

  • Cost 1: Initial investment in a new desk, desk-top converter, or some sort of adjustable contraption.  Link below.
  • Cost 2: You’ll need new shoes, but maybe this isn’t a con for most women.  LOL.  I have a pair of cheap black flats with comfy insoles that I keep at my desk.  I change into them when I’m wearing high heels.
  • Cost 3: For maximum comfort, even in good shoes, you’ll need an anti-fatigue mat.  Link below.

DESK CONVERSION

You’ll need a new desk, desk-top converter, or some sort of adjustable contraption.  Some companies might pay for this, but for now, I’m funding my experiment, so a new desk was out of the question.  I really liked the idea of an adjustable contraption, but none of the ones I found online seemed sturdy enough or big enough for my large-screen monitor, keyboard and mouse.  I ended up buying a Stand Steady Standing Desk, which is basically just an adjustable little table that sits on my desk.  The cost ($140) seems a little out of line for the product, but I don’t have the time or run around town looking for other contraptions, and this one looks appropriate for our office décor.

SHOES

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE shoes, and especially the high-heel variety. This does not work well for standing all day!  So my standing at work will have an impact on my future shoe purchases.  Just last week I was perusing the gorgeous heels at Nordstrom and passed them up in favor of a pair of cute flats on clearance.  I’d also like to invest in a nice, comfy, pair of work-appropriate loafers, but thus far I can’t find any that don’t make me feel like an old lady.  I’ve actually needed these for a long time, since I spend so much time on my feet when I travel for work, and normally wear a medium-heel boot that ends up killing my feet by end of day.

Stand By

So now I have to get back to standing at work.  I’ll be very interested to hear if any of you embark on similar experiments!

The Standing Desk Experiment

As I write this, I’m dancing at my desk. Yes, literally dancing from side to side. A wonderful side affect of this new standing desk idea, and probably a little bit of a workout too. So I had planned to try this for at least a week, using an empty legal paper box as the “desk” to see if I’d like it before spending money. Well after about 3 hours, I ordered it. I LOVE IT!  It won’t arrive until tomorrow (thanks Amazon Prime!) so in the meantime, my legal box will do.

Standing Desk 2

Standing Desk 1

I had read about the benefits of standing at your desk versus sitting, but finally decided to pull the trigger.  Here’s a great article about it:  Standing Desks Sit Well With More Employees

So it seems I’m the first “lone soldier” at my company, and so far, lots of people have stopped by and expressed interest in trying it.  I guess we’d better order more legal paper!

More soon when the new desk arrives.

5-Months Old!

I can’t believe it’s been 5-months since my little angel was born!

5 months

So you’re probably wondering how I’m doing with the post-baby weight-loss, since that is the origin of my blog.  Well, I should have listened to everyone and not put so much wasted effort into it while still breastfeeding!  Too much frustrating yo-yo dieting, only to realize the minute I start cutting too much, I lose milk supply.  Of course, her health is most important, so I stopped trying so hard… but then how to tame the cookie monster that will forever live inside me?  No easy task.  As everyone else told me the weight would start falling off after 4-5 months, and it did.

But alas, I’m about 6-pounds from my pre-baby weight, and most of my clothes fit again, although it feels like so much further because I think I’ve lost muscle mass too.  So… I’ve decided to embrace my softer self, enjoy my baby, and when she’s done with needing me for food, I’ll hit it hard again.

Next up, VACATION NEXT WEEK (woohoo!) and I’m going to experiment with a Standing Desk versus sitting all day.  I will post soon with the results!

Mom Jeans

So I wrote this last week and apparently forgot to publish…

I was in such a rush this morning that I almost didn’t notice that for the first time in about 8-months, I was able to button my favorite black pre-pregnancy pants. No more stretchy hair band needed to fasten the button! I was also quite shocked yesterday to slip into some smallish size jeans at one of my favorite stores. Since I don’t have a single pair of jeans right now that fit well, it was finally time to invest in a new pair. My seemingly-tiny old jeans (funny they didn’t seem so tiny a year ago), tease me from the closet every day. Time to hide those away for a while!

That is definitely one thing that was not well communicated – you may not fit into your old clothes for a while! Somehow we all think we will have the baby and bounce back quickly. I think I’ve bounced back more than most (judging from the frequent comments I get), but I still have several extra inches in my waist and hips that just don’t work with most of my very fitted pre-baby wardrobe. Oh well – look at this little face!!! I think I fall more in love every day…

 

2 months

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Getting off my usual topic for this week (partly because I’m trying to break my obsession with my diet)… lately I have become fascinated by the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle movement, mostly as it relates to our stuff.  Several things have prompted these thoughts…

reduce-reuse-recycle

First, just look around.  We ALL have too much stuff.  When you walk or drive down any suburban street, you’ll notice most of the garages are packed full, sometimes meaning the cars do not fit.  I especially hated walking on garbage night because inevitably I would see perfectly good items tossed to the curb and for some reason my heart ached for these once-loved and now discarded items.  The one that still haunts me was a plant.  Yes, someone had put a nice, big, healthy-looking houseplant by the curb with the trash.  Had I not been in the process of moving, I think I would have gone back to save it.  Why not put a “curb-alert” on social media or Craigslist to get rid of unwanted stuff instead of just dumping it??

Second, when I walk into a traditional store, I am often overwhelmed by the amount of stuff crammed onto racks and shelves, mostly clothes.  Do we really need all of this!?  What’s more, all of this stuff usually feels very generic and common, like it’s the same thing that tons of other people are wearing.  I don’t want to be generic!  The last several times I have walked into one of these such stores, I walked out empty-handed.

Next there’s me and my own family.  Oh yeah, we are the classic example of too much stuff, some of which comes from other family members who have passed on or down-sized, and for some reason we hang on to, as if half their household is part of a special memory.  I have always been very stressed and uncomfortable around clutter, so I have faithfully purged my own home since I became an adult, frequently making drops at Goodwill or similar, feeling good about myself for helping the less fortunate.  Then one day I suddenly became aware that much of what I donated ended up in the garbage or shipped overseas.  (Sad but true, Google it.)  I had carefully cleaned and hung the clothing I was donating, and the associate tossed them onto the floor of a dirty trailer.  Needless to say, I took them back and have been mostly selling/trading/donating directly to those that want my used clothing ever since.  Don’t get me wrong, I think some of these stores do a great service to our community, but they are a business too and they get more than they can sell.

And then there’s the baby.  Good grief, they come with a lot of stuff!!!  I had several baby showers, and told everyone we welcomed pre-loved items, but nope, I got all new (plus a few awesome homemade things!).  Not that I wasn’t grateful, but there is so much great used kid’s stuff to be had!  I think there are generations of social stigma to get over – not being able to give a used gift.  While pregnant, I told my grandmother I was going to buy a few maternity outfits second-hand since I wouldn’t wear them long and she thought that was a terrible idea because I could afford better and would feel better about myself with something lovely and new from a nice store.  Um, I wouldn’t feel better about the cost of something I planned to only wear briefly.  I actually got quite a bit from my Mom from when I was a kid.  My mother-in-law used to give everyone in the family a “garage sale gift” at Christmas.  I have a new appreciation for this now!

These days, my husband and I go out o our way to find good homes for things versus just dumping at a thrift store, and never dumping for the trash, but we still have so much opportunity.  I’m actually thinking of challenging myself to see how long I can go without buying any new stuff, aside from basic household necessities (like tp and lightbulbs).

Check out this very interesting article on this subject.  I especially enjoyed the comments.

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2011/04/should-only-poor-people-shop-at-thrift-stores/

apparel diet

Green Smoothies

Anybody that knows me, or is friends with me on MyFitnessPal, knows that I am slightly obsessed with drinking my meals, and lately that means lots of green smoothies ! They are the perfect breakfast-on-the-go, packed with most of my daily fruit and vegetable needs and if made right, taste great!

These days I mostly just make up my own recipes based on what I have on-hand.  Once you master the art of the perfect smoothie (see picture below), you no longer need a recipe.  However, even I like a little inspiration every once in a while.  My inspiration for this week is coconut butter… I never thought to add that to my smoothies!  So today I whipped up frozen strawberries and peaches with spinach, kale and coconut butter.  Yummy!

vitamix-smoothie-list

So while researching for this blog, I came across the below article and am dumbfounded.  It seems like every time we turn around we’re being told something we thought was good for us is now bad for us.  How in the world can eating leafy greens now be bad for us?  I, for one, am not giving up my green smoothies anytime soon.  I still eat a well-balanced diet the rest of the day!

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-green-smoothies-can-devastate-your-health/

One of the comments to this article was on-target with my own personal assessment, and I often rotate my greens.  I tend to believe that a healthy rotating of many different foods, not just greens, is best anyway.

“… In summary, I wouldn’t entirely dismiss the possibility that eating too much spinach too frequently may not be ideal, since every type of vegetable may have some potentially toxic component. In my own green smoothies or salads I strive for variety, rotating among spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, collard greens, or mixed lettuces on different days. Each type of green has a different nutrient profile, so it just makes sense not to stick with only one type. And if there’s any harmful substance in a particular leafy green, the rotation strategy minimizes exposure to it and gives the body more time to eliminate the toxin. In my opinion, the great benefits of dark, leafy greens for health and longevity far outweigh the potential risks, for people who haven’t received specific medical advice to avoid greens (and even that advice is sometimes not based on the best science).”

 

As always, I’d love to hear from you!